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The Decline of American Competitiveness

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, I may or may not get in trouble.  A little story here from Columbus, Ohio.  "Lending a helping hand was more satisfying than winning a state championship Saturday for Meghan Vogel."  The story is from the Springfield, Ohio News-Sun, circulation 100.  It's a tiny little paper. Nothing wrong with that.  I'm just trying to tell you as much as I can about the source. 

"The West Liberty-Salem High School junior was the surprise winner in the Division III girls 1,600 meters in the finals of the state track meet at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium. She broke away from race favorite Tammy Berger of Versailles and Delainey Phelps of Toledo Christian with 300 meters to go. She won going away in 4:58.31. It was the first time she had broken the five-minute mark. What Vogel did at the end of the D-III 3,200 meters, however, got her a standing ovation.

"Within 20 feet of the finish line, Arden McMath, a sophomore from Arlington High School, collapsed in front of Vogel. Rather than run by her, Vogel helped McMath to her feet and helped her across the finish line. The crowd came to its feet with the roar growing louder with each step. 'Helping her across the finish line was a lot more satisfying than winning the state championship,' admitted Vogel. By rule, a runner in track or cross country is automatically disqualified for aiding another runner. In this instance, however, meet management took no action. McMath was given 14th place in 12:29.90 and Vogel 15th in 12:30.24. Vogel made sure McMath crossed the finish line first because she had been ahead of her. 'What a selfless act,' said Arlington coach Paul Hunter. 'She could have just gone around Arden. But she chose to help. I’ve never seen that at a state meet. That’s real sportsmanship.'"

Okay.  Now you're asking, "Okay, Rush, how are you going to get in trouble?"  I may not.  I may just leave it there and leave it for you to draw your own analysis or conclusion.  But I do want to read one other thing to you.  Totally unrelated, as it arrived in my e-mail box on Saturday, but I just now printed it out after seeing the story of the women's track meet, the high school. 

"The last two installments in The New Criterion’s year long series 'Future Tense: The lessons of Culture in an Age of Upheaval' appear in our June issue, now winging its way to subscribers throughout the civilized world and available online now at www.newcriterion.com.  In 'The Fourth Revolution,' James Piereson asks whether America is 'on the verge of a new upheaval, a "fourth revolution" that will reshape U.S. politics for decades to come?' There are signs, he suggests, that it is, that 'we may already be in the early stages of this twenty-first-century revolution' that follows the earlier upheavals of the War of Independence, the Civil War, and the widespread cultural transformation wrought by FDR’s New Deal.  In 'The Lessons of Culture,' I ponder some of the prerequisites of cultural confidence.  'History,' Walter Bagehot noted in his little masterpiece Physics and Politics, 'is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.'"

I could leave it there, leave it for you to connect, think and discuss amongst yourselves, but then I'm saying, "Do people understand yet what I have said?"  Some people might, but do I need to do a more direct correlation here?  Do you think it calls for a more direct correlation here of what Mr. Piereson is suggesting we are in the throes of, it's already beginning to happen, that is the decline of our culture with the decline of hard manliness, at the expense of liberalism rising and the women's track meet in Ohio?  I don't know.  This could be fun just to leave it as it is and let people do the linkage themselves.  Some might not make a link at all, see a link.  Others might. 

I'm reminded, ladies and gentlemen, when I first heard way back in the late '80s that in competitive high school football and junior high school football that some teams were so good that they were penalized as much as 30 points before the game even started.  In other words, their opponents were given 30 points in order to make it fair.  And then I learned that adults started demanding that no score be kept in competitive sports events, intramural and organized, during the summer and during the school year.  And that there was virtue in not winning.  There was virtue in acknowledging that it wasn't fair to be better than anybody else.  There was virtue and almost a hero-like status that attached to people who recognized it might not be fair they were so much better than everybody else and didn't laud it over them. 

And so the measure of determining who was best was eliminated, keeping score.  So at the end everybody had a pleasurable experience and nobody ended up with hurt feelings or being humiliated because there were no winners and losers, everybody had just gone out for a good time.  The problem with it was, though, the kids were keeping score even as the adults weren't.  The competitive fires could not be quelled no matter what the adults and the well-intentioned touchy feely liberals saw to achieve.  Winning is becoming stigmatized.  Winning is considered to be unfair because somebody loses.  And that means somebody's feelings get hurt.  And that means somebody's potentially humiliated, depressed, maybe cries even. 

So we have to stop winning.  Everybody just plays.  And it is this that Mr. Piereson's writing about in the New Criterion in which he suggests that you gain a little progressiveness, gain a little liberalism at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness.  Meghan Vogel on Twitter is a hero.  She is a true athlete and even a saint for what she did.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now Snerdley asked me an interesting question. As you know Tiger Woods won in Columbus, essentially, in Muirfield Village at the Jack Nicklaus tournament: The Memorial. Tiger won. And Snerdley said, "Is Tiger back?" I said, "I don't know. I don't know. So many things about what happened yesterday we don't yet know." For example, the golf sports media community has been very distressed that Tiger has not been performing well, because that means fewer viewers. Ratings are down.

And, frankly, it's less exciting when Tiger is not playing well or not in a tournament. And a lot of people in the golf community have been hoping: "Come on, Tiger! Come back! Make the game interesting and bring people back to the game." Well, Tiger starts out that tournament last Thursday and plays well. Plays well on Friday. Plays well on Saturday. How do we know, folks...?

Say, Rory Sabbatini, who was tied for second. How do we know that Sabbatini didn't say: "You know what? For the good of golf, I'm going to lose? For the good of golf, I'm going to make sure that Tiger wins. I'm going to do what I can to make sure that I flub up enough here and there so that I don't do better than Tiger"? And what if the other competitors who were close did the same thing? If we were to learn... This is just a hypothetical. I just want to throw it out there.

If we were to learn that Rory Sabbatini and the rest of the field in the Top 5 purposely did not try to beat Tiger Woods so that Tiger would win and feel better about himself, "It's been a long time. The game needs Tiger back." Everybody knows this. Everybody talks about it. Everybody admits it. Everybody wants Tiger to be happy again. What if we were to learn that all of these competitors who had a chance to win basically chucked it? Not noticeably, but nevertheless purposefully.

Just so that Tiger would win and the game of golf overall would benefit and they would benefit by losing, because the game's popularity might thus return. Money might thus return. Viewership might increase. Sponsorships might increase. All it would take is Tiger winning here and there. Now, Snerdley says, "What are we talking about? It would never happen. These guys are too competitive. They wouldn't lay down on purpose to let Tiger win." Ah-ah-ah! That's not what we're learning is rewarded.

My question is (I'm just asking a question): If we learn that this happened, would Rory Sabbatini become a Twitter hero? Would the media applaud Rory Sabbatini? "You know what? You did a great thing. You purposely lost so Tiger could win so he would feel better and so golf would benefit. You know what? We're going to give you championship money even though you didn't win, because you did a selfless thing."

If we were to learn this is what happened, would Rory Sabbatini become a hero on Twitter for great sportsmanship and for great thinking? "Selfless behavior! It's so selfish to want to win and yet Rory Sabbatini set it aside." If we were to learn this... I'm not saying it happened. I don't know. I'm just asking. But if we learned that Sabbatini was so unselfish that he purposely lost so that Tiger might win -- for the benefit of Tiger and his self-esteem and golf in general -- would Sabbatini be awarded and applauded (clapping) as a hero on Twitter today?

I'm just asking.

And if you say, if you're shouting at the radio, "Come on, don't be silly! What are you saying? It's insane"? It's not insane. It happens all over this country. We hear about it in amateur athletics, in a high school in Ohio. It happens! People purposely lose. People penalize themselves so that others might not experience the humiliation or defeat, so that others might find out what it's like to experience the joy of victory so that everybody can be happy. It happens.

I'm just wondering: If it happened in this case, would you applaud it?

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here's Adam in Chicago.  Adam, I'm glad you waited.  Great to have you on the EIB Network.  Hello.

CALLER:  Thank you very much, Rush.  The reason I'm calling is the story you talked about earlier, the one woman falling during the track race and other person helping her up and everyone stood up and congratulated her.  I think that just goes to show that America's, that's not what America's all about.  It's supposed to be just like the competitive nature in the workplace.  The best man for the job is supposed to have the job.  Where has competitiveness gone?  All of a sudden --

RUSH:  Wait, wait, this was a women's high school track event. 

CALLER:  Maybe so, but if I was the coach she would never run again.

RUSH:  Neither of these two women was going to win.  Neither of them was in first place. 

CALLER:  No matter what you do you always do it 100 percent in life.  That's what you should do.  That's what people aren't doing.  She could have done better.  Maybe she would have gotten fifth, instead of 14th.

RUSH:  I only have limited broadcast seconds remaining.  Let me take over.  I know where he's leaning with this.  If we had time, he would say that we're losing our competitive instincts in this country.  Nobody wants to be competitive anymore.  That's not entirely true.  The problem is that there are still plenty of people who are competitive and they will eat you up and spit you out if you're not.  And if you don't learn to be competitive at some point in your life, you're going to be chewed up and spit out, because there are still lots of people who are very competitive and who thrive on it, and you can't legislate it out and you can't good feelings it out and you can't strip it away.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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